A/N: Thanks for your reviews! I know I annoyed some Fire Emblem fans who don't like Marth's wife, and I just wanted to clarify that I've never played the games - I just did research on them - so I don't know much about Marth or his wife or her powers/lack thereof. I'm looking to wrap this story up pretty soon - probably within the next few chapters. But we'll see where that goes. On to Chapter 11!
Chapter 11: Stanken Not Shirred?
The sun rose again the next day, much to the girls' surprise.
A sense of foreboding washed over them as they walked to breakfast, as sense that everyone knew what they did, what terrible people they were.
They grabbed food and retreated to a lone table in the back, mournfully watching the other Smashers' interact. Kirby and Yoshi were competing to see who could suck down food faster. Toon Link was chasing Nana in between the tables, dangling a menacing piece of soggy bacon. Ike, Captain Falcon, Marth, and Snake were sitting in a tight circle, heads bowed and voices low.
"They're probably talking about us," Peach sniffed indignantly, slamming down her spoon.
The noise drew the attention of the group, and all but Ike smiled brightly and waved at the self-isolated women.
"See? They hate us," Peach concluded, rising with the other two to clear off their trays.
"We have to be more careful," Zelda said as they approached the tray conveyor belt. "From now on we have to be absolutely certain about a pair before we investigate it."
They turned to leave, and Peach smacked right into Lucario, knocking the tray out of his paws.
"Sorry!" Peach said, bending down to pick up the scattered pieces of food.
"It's fine," Lucario grumbled. "Just watch out next time."
Tears filled Peach's eyes. "They all hate us!" She wailed and ran out of the kitchen in horror.
The Mushroom Princess was still crying when the other two returned to the room.
Zelda joined Peach on the bed and took her hand. "Peach, it's okay. No one hates us," she said soothingly.
"H-h-h-how do you knooow?" Peach gasped between sobs. "N-n-n-no one has ever hated me before!"
Zelda shot Samus a look before the bounty hunter could say anything. "And no one does now," she assured. "We talked to Ike."
Peach looked up with red eyes. "You did?"
"Yes," Zelda said. "I apologized to him and said I hoped there wasn't any hard feelings. He said he didn't tell anyone and that he just wanted to know why we had a habit of bursting into his room."
Peach dabbed her eyes the back of her glove. "And what did you say?"
"Well we -" Zelda glanced at Samus for support. "We - er..."
"We told him you were secretly in love with him," Samus said bluntly.
Peach stopped mid-sniff. "What?"
"We had to think of something," Zelda said hurriedly. "What else would explain why we were basically stalking him?"
Peach was still in shock. "WHAT!?"
"Don't sweat it," Samus said. "It worked. He looked surprised, but it worked."
"Oh, how awkward!" Peach whined. "How insulting! How - how..."
"Well, I suppose he is rather handsome and mysterious," Peach decided.
"That's the spirit," Samus grinned. "So what's next?"
"I don't know," Zelda said. "But can we think about this on the way to the attic? I have to return this camera."
Minutes later, the girls were trudging through the dusty storage room, trying to remember where they found the camera. Peach wandered off into the darkest corners of the room as the other two brainstormed their next mission approach.
"I've been thinking," Zelda grunted as she overturned an ancient trunk. She breathed in sharply. "That we shouldn't focus our efforts on one specific pair this next mission."
Samus looked confused. "Meaning...?"
"Meaning we should just observe everyone in general, spend time with them, mingle, see if anyone lets anything slip," Zelda explained.
"How would we do that without being incredibly awkward or obvious?" Samus wondered.
Suddenly, an elated giggle resounded throughout the attic.
"These are hilarious!" Peach's voice bubbled. "These must be old souvenirs from the Smash Shop. Toadstools, who would pay $10 for this?"
She sprang into sight, sporting a bushy black Mario-esque moustache and a bristly orange Bowser wig with horns. She twirled the moustache and slipped into accent - "It's-a me! The love child of Bowser and Mar-io!" - then collapsed in a fit of laughter.
Zelda and Samus looked at each other. A simultaneous light bulb clicked. They grinned.
"So what are we doing again?" Peach asked as Samus forced a black wig on her head.
Zelda and Samus had found a jackpot of wigs and costumes in the attic and had concocted quite an unusual plan starring the Mushroom Princess.
"Peach, for the hundredth time, you're going to act as a visitor who is touring the mansion because you're interested in joining next season," Samus explained.
"And why do I have to be a guy?"
"Because you'd look too much like yourself if you were a girl and being a guy gets you closer to the male Smashers," Zelda said.
"And why do I have to be a guy?"
"Because Zelda's facial features are too feminine to pull off a guy and I...well, let's just say I'm not built like a guy," Samus said.
"And I can pull this off?" Peach asked skeptically.
"Sure," Samus said, uncertainty evident in her voice.
"We need to go for someone you can look like and someone who is well known but that no one else here knows too well," Zelda said, scanning through a Web site of potential choices. "This eliminates Waluigi since Wario knows him, Ryu because he's so big, the Pokemon because - "
"Because we already have a billion of them here, and they're annoying as hell," Samus muttered, plastering a beard on Peach's face.
" - yes, and also because they aren't human," Zelda continued placidly.
"I don't understand why I have to do this," Peach grumbled.
"Because you're just so charming," Samus smiled wickedly, pulling a little too roughly on the beard, ripping the adhesive off of Peach's jaw line.
"OUCH!" Peach wailed. "What if I don't know what to say?"
Samus rummaged through a bag and pulled out a small object that looked like a hearing aid. "We'll be in contact with you the entire time. You'll be wearing this -" she held the device up "- in your ear, and we'll be talking to you. It doubles as a transmitter and receiver."
Zelda suddenly spun around in the computer chair, eyes gleaming in excitement.
"Peach, how good is your English accent?"
"The name's Bond. James Bond."
A handsome, dark-haired man in a suit and bow tie stood before the Smash Officfe's registration desk.
The secretary gawked. "The James Bond?!"
The man nodded and the woman blushed.
Of course, it wasn't really James Bond because the real James Bond wouldn't have had to quickly shift his hairpiece while the secretary momentarily looked away.
"Here's your appointment," she said, staring at the computer screen. "Master Hand will see you shortly. Why don't you have a seat?"
"Bond" awkwardly sat down in a chair adjacent to the desk. The secretary glanced at the infamous secret agent, cheeks reddening again.
"Peach," Samus' voice buzzed in her ear. "Any trouble so far?"
"The assistant keeps batting her eyes at me," the princess whispered back harshly.
"Great," Samus snickered. "Just remember: you heard about the Smash tournament and are thinking about joining. You want a full tour of the grounds and mansion so you can get to know the participants. Zelda will conveniently show up and offer to escort you. Your English accent isn't the greatest, so only speak when absolutely necessary. And don't do anything dumb. Which is going to be a challenge."
"And don't turn your head too quickly!" Zelda piped up. "That wig has trouble staying on."
Peach self-conciously pulled at the mop of fake hair, trying to secure it more efficiently. The giant double doors to her right swung open.
"He's here. Gotta go," Peach whispered fervently.
"Mr. Bond!" Master Hand said cheerily. "Please come inside!"
Once in his office, Master Hand pulled some papers from a file and resumed his place behind the massive wooden desk. There was an extended pause.
"Forgive me for staring -" (Peach didn't know how an eyeless giant hand could stare) "- but you're much shorter than I imagined."
"Well, y'know what they say," Peach said in her best male English accent. "The camera adds five inches!"
"You're also a lot slimmer," the hand observed.
Peach patted her belly, "Been cuttin' down on the - er - crumpets."
Master Hand laughed heartily, "So you're interested in joining our little party?"
Peach nodded, hoping she looked cool and detached.
"I must admit I was shocked to hear from you," Master Hand rambled. "I've always been a huge fan. Your GoldenEye piece was one of the top selling games of all time! What was it like making such a masterpiece?" He leaned forward expectantly.
A knot tied in Peach's stomach.
Samus swore. "We didn't think to research his games."
She tugged at her bowtie. "Ohhh, 'twas rather fun. Long hours, y'know. Demandin' conditions. I - I don't usually talk about it. It was an odd job."
"What about those weapons? Did you have a favorite?" Master Hand pressed.
"The Klobb! I remember there being a gun named 'Klobb!'" Samus shouted through the ear piece.
"The Klobb, o'course!" Peach drawled. "Such a...bloody brilliant...gun. I just loved shootin' it at bad...blokes."
There was another long pause. Then Master Hand burst out laughing. Peach joined in uncertainly.
"Mr. Bond, you kill me!" The giant appendage said breathlessly. Then laughed even harder at his own pun. "The Klobb! Oh, that's a classic. Phew! Wait 'til I tell Crazy..."
The conversation steered away from the Bond games, much to Peach's relief. A few minutes later, Master Hand was escorting her out the door.
"Ann here will show you around the mansion and grounds, Mr. Bond," Master Hand was saying. The secretary looked up quickly, elated.
The sound of a throat clearing came from the side of the room. Everyone turned.
"Princess Zelda!" Master Hand said. "What a pleasant surprise."
"I came to ask you about the Home Run Contest rules, but I see you're busy," Zelda lied smoothly, eyes drifting to the disguised Peach.
"Where are my manners?" Master Hand said. "Allow me to introduce you to Mr. James Bond. He might be joining our ranks next season."
"Pleasure to meet you," Zelda said politely then turned back to Master Hand. "You say he's about to take a tour of the grounds? Allow me to escort him, sir. I was just heading back that way as it was."
"Yes, that makes sense," Master Hand said thoughtfully. "Well, take care of him, Princess!"
Ann shot Zelda a sour look as the Hylian led Peach out of the office.
"She's rather fond of you," Zelda said teasingly. She stared at her and Samus' handiwork. Peach wore a black suit and tie they found in the attic, as well as a men's black wig that they gelled and styled. Zelda had hemmed the clothes while Samus used stage makeup to give Peach a passable look of stubble and thicker and darker eyebrows. A plastic black gun was hidden in the inner coat pocket and the transmitter was tucked safely and descreetly in Peach's ear. Zelda felt a sense of pride: Peach was nearly unrecognizable beyond her big blue eyes.
"This wig is driving me NUTS," Peach said, slipping back into her own dainty voice. "And this suit! Ew, it's so hot. And it smells like mildew."
"Quit complaining," Samus buzzed in. "And work on refining your English accent. You sound like a drunken Eliza Doolittle."
The pair strode up the stone-paved path from the Smash Office towards the pond and portals to the stages. Zelda made a show of introducing "James Bond" to these features in case Master Hand was watching from his office window. After a half-hour, they headed for the mansion.
"Gee," Peach said sardonically as she and Zelda parted ways. "Thanks for showing me the area that I've been familiar with for the past two seasons."
"KEEP THE ENGLISH ACCENT!" Samus threatened as Peach climbed the stairs to the lounge, an area of the house Peach had never been because of its reputation of being the "man room."
Peach cracked the oak doors open and knew immediately why the lounge had a masculine reputation. Plushy leather armchairs circled a massive television set, which was showing an archery competition. Arcade games, darts, and pool table that had seen better days occupied the left side of the room and mounted heads of various beats stared down at her from the walls. The right side of the room contained stools and a bar counter, which was covered in carved names and dirty phrases. Pyramids of discarded beer decorated the mutilated wood and more rows of alcohol lined the shelves behind the counter. The room, which was lit by low-hanging shaded lights, had a sort of rustic log cabin feel to it. The princess immediately felt out-of-place, even in disguise. She timidly pushed the door open further, a lingering creeeeak betraying her stealth.
Two heads peered over the back of the armchairs. It was Link and Wolf.
"You lost?" the rugged canine snarled.
Peach swallowed a lump in her throat. "Be cool," Samus reminded quietly.
"I - I'm James Bond," Peach said slowly, concentrating on forming the words into a believable accent.
"James Bond?!" Wolf's entire demeanor changed in an instant. He leaped out of the chair in excitement. "Come take a seat!"
Peach slumped into an armchair and looked over at Link and Wolf, who were staring back eagerly.
"What brings you to the Smash Mansion?" Wolf asked as Link muted the television.
"I've 'eard about yeh from some mates and thought it sounded like a jolly good time!"
"Okay, now you sound Irish," Samus snapped.
"We have your game over there," Wolf jerked his thumb over his shoulder in the direction of the video games. "The tournaments get pretty intense."
"Imagine what they'll be like with the actual James Bond playing with us!" Link added.
"Oh - um - smashing," muttered Peach.
Just then, someone else entered the room. Seconds later, a dripping-wet, grumpy looking Ike appeared alongside an amused looking Snake.
"Forget to take your clothes off before getting in the shower again?" Wolf teased.
"Funny," he said, although his voice was void of any sort of amusement. "I was training against the 'droids on Delfino Plaza. Blasted Pit appears out of no where and pushes me in the water! I'm going to rip his feath- who is this?"
His eyes were trained on Peach.
"It's James Bond!" Link said happily.
Ike frowned. "You're James Bond?"
Peach nodded quickly, wanting to squirm away under his hawk-eyed gaze. She thanked the Mushroom gods for the room's dim lights.
"Speak!" Samus hissed.
"You certainly don't look like James Bond," Ike said slowly, looking over at the video game collection.
"And you certainly don't look like a powerful mercenary," Peach snapped back, surprising even herself.
"Damn, Peach!" Samus said, her tone hinting admiration.
"Burn," Snake grinned.
Ike's eyebrows flew up, almost touching his dripping hair line. Then he extended af hand, "Welcome to the Smash Mansion."
Astonished, Peach took his hand and gave it a firm shake. Snake inclined his head slightly in greeting.
"Forgive me for saying so, you have very soft hands," Ike said, turning Peach's over in his and inspecting it.
"Uhh..." Peach struggled, then shrugged. "You know, the ladies love a man with good hands."
Samus and Zelda sniggered in her ear.
"What's your secret?" Wolf asked. "With the ladies I mean. You get more tail than...well than the tail I got!"
"Yeah, Mr. Bond," Samus jeered. "What's your secret with the ladies?"
Peach coughed into her fist. "A true magician never reveals his secrets."
"Since you're on the topic, ask them about the ladies at the mansion!" Zelda pressed.
"Sooo," Peach drawled silkily and winked. "What are the ladies like here?"
The four men looked around at each other.
"Cute," Link said simply.
"That's it?!" Peach said, voice slipping. "Just cute?! Not charming or beautiful or elegant or smart or talented or perfect?!"
Silence filled the room. They all stared.
"I've always said Zelda had to be a freak behind that all that prim and properness," Snake said finally, grinning devilishly.
"Oh, definitely," said Falco, entering the room with Fox and plopping down in a chair. "Those pointy ears are so hot."
"Well, really," Zelda scolded in the ear piece, sounding scandalized as Samus laughed in the background. "Ouch! Samus, quit poking them!"
Meanwhile, most of the older male Smashers had flocked to the lounge. Word that James Bond was on the grounds had spread fast, and they all couldn't wait to see the spectacle for themselves.
"Link, tell me you've tapped that," Falco said.
Link shook his head, blushing. Falco looked thunderstruck.
"Why not, man?"
"I never knew she was interested," he said quietly. Zelda tutted in the ear piece, annoyed.
"The blessed Hero was probably too busy hitting on my lieutenants," Ganondorf growled, alluding to his former Geurdo second-in-command Nabooru, whom despised Ganondorf and aided Link on various quests.
"And that simple-minded milkmaid, and that nagging imp, and that green-haired drama queen, and that bratty fish princess, and -"
"Zelda, we got the point," Samus said in exasperation.
"-and that memory-losing, temper-tantrum-throwing country girl," Zelda finished, a hint of bitterness in her voice.
"Yiiikes," Samus said cautiously.
"Samus has got it goin' on, too," Fox said evenly, breaking the tension. "I can hardly concentrate when we're fighting and she's got that Zero suit on."
Several others nodded fervently. "She scares me, though," Sonic said, shaking his head. "I think if I ever tried to make a move on her, she'd punch a hole through me."
"Yup," Samus verified.
"Ahh, but that's how I like my women," Snake growled, rubbing his hands together excitedly.
"I'd give her a poke. Her and Zelda," Bowser grinned. "Same time." The others laughed.
"What about Peach?!" Peach asked harshly. "Why else would you always capture her?!"
Bowser shrugged his massive shoulders. "It's fun seeing Mario get his panties in a bunch, I guess."
"I forgot about Peach," Falco said, rubbing his chin.
The princess' faux-stubble-covered face reddened. "Well, she seemed quite lovely when I...met her on the stairs. She seems very intelligent and composed and beautiful!"
"Intelligent?" Samus sputtered.
"Shut up!" Peach yelled without thinking. Everyone looked around, trying to see who she was talking to. "It was something...on the TV...angered me." The commercial on the screen showed a child recovering from a serious injury happily hugging her relieved mother.
"Case and point," Samus snickered.
"I dunno," Falco was saying. "I feel like Peach would be too prudish."
"Nah," Wolf said, putting his paws behind his head and leaning back comfortably. "She's probably like Zelda: Princess in the streets, tiger in the sheets."
There was a general murmur of agreement.
"Wonder if she gets freaky with that parasol?" Snake winked, nudging Link.
Peach looked appalled. "You men are disgusting," she spat.
They all exchanged knowing looks and grinned.
"Seriously! You talk about these women like objects! They have feelings, and thoughts, and desires, too!" Peach screeched.
They all laughed openly, finding it hilarious to be judged on treatment of the fairer sex by the gaming industry's biggest womanizer. Unfortunately, Peach did not understand this, and her face reddened dangerously. Pit walked into the room amidst the hearty laughter.
"What's going on, everyone?" he asked brightly, he looked down at the fuming "man" in a black suit. "Who are you?"
"I'm James Bond," Peach said through gritted teeth.
Pit's eyes widened. "Oh. My. Palutena. I've been brushing up on my British slang for this exact moment!" He straightened, as if preparing to make a big speech. "Come on, Pit, now's your time to shine!" he muttered to himself.
He then screwed up his face and slipped into the most Cockney British accent in the history of all Cockney British accents.
"'Ello, gov'na! What ya blokes rabbittin' on about?"
Peach blinked. "Bunnies?"
"Thought I 'eard talk 'bout the ole Cadburys 'round the drum."
Peach shifted uncomfortably. "I - uh - Cadbury eggs?"
Pit chortled, holding his belly like a jolly old man. "Oh, Mr. Bond. You have such a way with words." He sat down close to Bond and smiled, eyes twinkling. "I admire that." He scooted closer.
"Er..." Peach pressed against the couch's armrest.
Pit's smile widened.
"Anyone want a drink?"
Fox had made his way around the bar counter and was unstacking a pyramid of glasses. Several men shouted out various requests. Fox scrambled to fill the orders then looked up expectantly at Peach.
"Er...a Shirley Temple? Please?" Peach attempted. It was the only drink she knew. Father's servants used to bring her the grenadine and Sprite mix garnished with a maraschino cherry during the long summer days lounging by the royal pool.
Fox froze. "A - come again?"
"Order a martini, you idiot!" Samus snapped.
"A martini!" Peach announced abruptly.
Fox chucked. "Of course."
Peach looked nonplussed. She watched Fox pour a clear liquid into an angular glass. He impaled an olive with a miniature plastic sword and handed the drink to Peach.
She peered at the drink apprehensively. Olive water? She tilted the glass back and drained its contents in a swift gulp...
"Pfffffffffft!" She spat the martini out onto Pit.
"What in my blooming turnips was that!?" She screeched to the stunned room.
"Oh God help us..." Samus said. "Time for an intervention."
"A martini, Mr. Bond," Wolf muttered. "Although you're not the first to react that way to Fox's horrendous bartending skills..."
Fox threw his rival a dirty look while Peach wiped her mouth, face screwed up in nauseated pain. Fox scurried back to the bar to mix Peach a new drink, which she sipped hesitantly. It wasn't so bad that way. Link had wiped the expelled martini contents from his face and turned the archery contest on television back on.
A half hour and four martini's later, Peach was a sight to behold.
"Bahaha," she pointed to the television screen, gasping for air. "That guy was waaaaaaay off. I, James freakin' Bond, would have shot...everything right. BAM!" She gestured grandly, sloshing her drink down her suit.
"Seriously, Bond," Snake began, finishing his beer. "How do you get all that tail all over the world? I envy you, man."
Peach stared resolutely at the bottom of her empty glass. She giggled for no reason. "Hee hee hee hee hee...'tail.' Wolf has a tail." She giggled harder.
Suddenly, Samus burst through the doors. "God, it took forever to find this place," she said heavily.
Peach craned over the back of the couch. "SHAMUS!"
"Oh no..." Samus said, studying Peach's unfocused gaze. "Let's get going, Mr. Bond. You have a plane to catch."
"Plane?" Peach asked, wobbling after standing. "Samus you...you need to watch this..." She waved her hand behind her at the TV screen. "'s important."
"I bet it is," Samus said between gritted teeth. "Let's go, sir."
She walked forward and hoisted Peach up roughly. The princess wobbled unsteadily.
"Guess 's time ta go, friends," she slurred sadly. The men made general noises of unhappiness. Pit glared at Samus bitterly.
"Yes, I'm sure we all had a lovely time," Samus said, rolling her eyes and dragging Peach out behind her.
"Shmamus...Shamus...Samus..." Peach struggled as they made their way down the stairs. "Wow, 's hard to say your name."
"Mmm hmmm," Samus said distractedly. "And your wig's falling off. Hope no one noticed."
Peach giggled again, sloppily adjusting the black mop of hair. "D'ya know that...that if ya just drink it slowly, 's a lot easier to drink?" Peach continued.
Samus stared pointedly at the ceiling and took a deep breath.
"And that...and that I like my martini's staken and not shirred?" Peach added. "Tha's how Bond drinks."
"Mmmm hmmm," Samus said again, leading Peach to her room as the princess stomped loudly behind.
"And I'M JAMES BOND! I'm JAMES. BOND. MATES!" Peach crowed down corridor. "CHEERY-FREAKING-O!"
Zelda stuck her head out of Samus' doorway. "Peach back?"
"Peach is unavail'ble!" Peach said, pointing her index finger in the air in emphasis as she marched in the room. "But James Bloody Blonde can take your messages after the beep. BEEP!"
And with that, Peach collapsed face first on the floor.